Senate panel divided on issue of PIA workers holding fake degrees

Updated March 21, 2019

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PML-N senator says PIA should reconsider employees' appeal on "compassionate grounds"; PTI suggests severe action. — Creative Commons/File
PML-N senator says PIA should reconsider employees' appeal on "compassionate grounds"; PTI suggests severe action. — Creative Commons/File

ISLAMABAD: Members of a parliamentary body on Wednesday were divided on dismissal of Pakistan International Airlines employees for possessing fake degrees.

“There are some employees who have appealed to the CEO of the PIA and I would like him to reconsider their cases on compassionate grounds especially when a few employees were handed down milder punishments, but allowed to keep their jobs,” said chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation Senator Mushahidullah Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak said that individuals who had submitted fake degrees at the time of their employment should be dealt with severely.

“Dismissal from job is a befitting punishment according to the offence of submitting fake degrees. In fact tough action should be taken against those employees also who had overlooked forged documents at the time of induction of these individuals,” said Mr Khattak.

The committee met to discuss the case of the PIA employees who had been dismissed from service for possessing fake degrees.

Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Moula Bux Chandio, who earlier had been urging PIA’s management to consider their cases on compassionate grounds, remained neutral, saying that the committee had spent too much time discussing this particular case and the matter should now be put to rest.

In the past five meetings the committee had been criticising the PIA management for dismissing seven pilots and 73 cabin crew for possessing fake degrees, saying rules were not followed during termination of services of these employees.

On Wednesday’s meeting, Mushahidullah Khan said that the PIA management skipped minor disciplinary actions against their employees for possessing fake degrees and jumped straight to firing them from service.

“It is unreasonable to dismiss these employees from service after 15 to 20 years in PIA, especially when they have entered a bracket of their lives where they cannot get employment anywhere else,” Mr Khan said.

He also asked the PIA management to explain in the next meeting why a few employees were allowed to retain their jobs, but others were fired.

As many as 710 staff members had submitted fake academic documents at the time of their induction. At least 467 staff members were dismissed, but 201 of them obtained stay orders from lower courts against their dismissals, and another 42 are facing disciplinary actions.

The meeting also learnt that 16 pilots of all local airlines had submitted fake degrees.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019